Colorado Reader Sept. 2019: Colorado Grows World-Class Produce - Page 5

Food Waste Reducer While fruits and vegetables are delicious and good for you, an important thing to remember is that they are also perishable. Perishable means that something is likely to decay or go bad in a short amount of time. While a select few can last longer in temperature-controlled storage, like potatoes, onions, and apples, most fruits and vegetables must be eaten, used, or frozen within a few days of being purchased at the grocery store or farmers market. Unfortunately, a lot of food DOES go bad before we eat it, and it is usually thrown away. Not only is that bad for the environment, but also for your parents’ wallets because it is wasted money! Did you know, in the United States alone, over 1/3 of the food produced for us to eat is thrown away? That’s about 219 pounds of food per American per year! Here are a few ways you and your family can help reduce food waste in your house: • Help your parents put together their weekly grocery shopping list. What fruits and vegetables do you like to eat every day, like carrots and apples? What items do you eat once or twice a week with a meal, like broccoli and green beans? • Store fruits and vegetables properly. Find out which ones need to be in the refrigerator or left on the counter, if they can be stored with other produce items, or need to be stored by themselves. • Eat your leftovers! Often, leftovers get forgotten in the back of the refrigerator, never to be seen again (until they start smelling!). Designate one night a week as “Leftover Night” to help reduce the amount of leftovers that get thrown away. • If you have a lot of food left on your plate when eating at a restaurant, take it home for leftovers. • Start a compost bin in your classroom, house, or back yard! Research how to make a compost bin, and start throwing things like food scraps, egg shells, coffee and coffee filters in there. The worms in the bin will chew up all the waste and turn it into rich compost, perfect for your garden or a friend’s garden. Think of any other ways you can help reduce food waste and take the Food Waste Reducer Pledge below. The Food Waste Reducer Pledge: I, _________________________________________, promise to reduce the amount of food I waste. The main way I am going to reduce food waste is by _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ - 5